Cambodia, depending on the time of year, is either six or seven hours ahead of the UK. This makes life interesting in terms of communicating with people, and leaves the weekends as the most viable option for Skyping. Furthermore, the difference in time is compounded by different daily rhythms that you develop here.
First, my work day starts at 7:15, when we have a staff Bible study. By then it is already getting warm and humid, so its most likely that I’ve been up at least a couple of hours before then. I will often be up before 5am, and it’s not unknown for me to have been up before 4 (although I will usually go back to bed for 20 minutes before I start my day properly). This way, you can do things without a fan and even have a hot cup of tea. So, with the time difference, sometimes I am starting my day before you guys have finished the previous one.
Therefore, my evenings are a lot shorter. This is also because it is dark before half-six throughout pretty much the whole year. So, by the time it gets to 9pm, I’m either well off to the land of Nod, or I’m bedding down. This is common throughout Cambodia, and the streets are always pretty quiet past 9. I’m not sure how I’m going to cope with my Khmer lessons. They end at 8 and I have a 30 minute journey home. I hope I don’t fall asleep in the rickshaw.
This can make it feel a little bit isolating sometimes. My WhatsApp messages are often unread until the next day, for instance. However, people, including myself, did survive before social media and instant gratification. Perhaps it will teach me to be more picky with my words and more patient with others.